On the importance of being a good leader

Everyone knows we need good leaders!

​For years now, it has been common to see articles profess the need and importance for good leadership in organizations.  Even the classes I took in school talk about the differences between managers and leaders.  However, it seems as if everyone is concerned with the “finished product”.  How does one become a good leader?

​Why is it important?

​Good management is the difference between a business succeeding or failing.  Good leadership, however, is the difference between surviving and thriving.  Without a good team at the helm an organization can certainly get by for some time.  It will not last, though, unless upper management recognizes the importance of good leadership.

​What makes a good leader?

​There are many different attributes typically associated with good leaders, and you may even recognize some in yourself or those that you report to.  Some of the more commonly identified characteristics are: honesty, integrity, vision, team-building, courage, and communications.  Additionally, leaders are rarely focused on themselves, rather it is more important to achieve common goals.

​Isn’t it a fact that leaders are born, not made?

​There is no scientific evidence that suggests leadership is a trait we are either born with, or not.  Just as we are taught many of the skills and abilities we exhibit, leadership is no different.  Though it is true that some will excel while others may not, there is nothing that proves we cannot teach the necessary skills to be a good leader.

​How do I begin this journey?

​If you are asking this question, genuinely, then you have already started the process.  Leaders continually seek to improve themselves.  Through self-reflection, you can begin to identify the areas with which you are strong, and find the areas you need to improve on.  How are your communication skills?  Are you the type to go on a power trip the moment you have some authority?  Do yu ask for feedback and input on decisions?

​One of the common ways to become a great leader is to identify someone in your life that you feel exhibits the necessary qualities.  Reach out to them and ask if you can go to lunch with them, or meet for coffee.  Ask them to mentor you.  If you have analyzed your own qualities, share them with this individual and ask for their honest opinion.

​Don’t feel discouraged if you have trouble getting going down this path.  The best leaders begin as followers, and there is no way around that.  If you need help finding a mentor, reach out to me.  I work with a network that can help align you with someone.

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